Meet the team – Alex Lovejoy, Group Finance Officer
Today we’re interviewing another key member of the Contego family, we’re chatting to Alex Lovejoy about their role at Contego and their passion for sports.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
After leaving school, I decided to do an apprenticeship in accounting. It was a way to earn a bit of money as well as get a qualification and valuable experience at the same time. I was open to other apprenticeships, but I was good at Maths at school, and I enjoyed that in maths/accounting there’s always an answer. You can work it out and be content that it is correct. I initially worked at a small practice whilst completing my AAT qualification and then moved to a larger practice. This move helped me to continue with my education and complete my ACCA qualification, but to also be exposed to a broader spectrum of clientele in different industries with different needs. After 14 years of working in practice, I knew that I wanted to be move from practice into industry. Although you help numerous clients through the years in practice, there’s always the feeling that you’re working in the past and could be more helpful if you knew about issues earlier. Contego has offered me this opportunity so that I can help with the financials and analyse the past, but also be involved in the present and look to the future.
Q: Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work?
I love sports. Mainly football, American football, ice hockey and horse racing but I admire all sportsmen/women who can get to the top of their game. The physical and mental strength they all show to get to where they want to can be an inspiration to all of us. I used to play American football for Darlington Steam but unfortunately had a serious knee injury (torn ACL and MCL) and then after a very long recovery process, Covid-19 struck and closed everything down. I never managed to get back to the level where I was comfortable with what I could contribute to the team and so retired. Being a massive sports fan has helped me travel the world, experience different cultures and broaden my horizons. Whether that being recently going to Aintree to watch the Grand National, travelling around California watching the NFL, NHL and NBA or being at Wembley when England beat Germany at the Euros. There’s nothing better than 80,000 people all celebrating the same event together.
Q: What does a typical day at Contego look like for you?
My day-to-day responsibilities involve keeping the management accounts for Contego and other related group companies up to date. This can involve balance sheet reconciliations such as bank accounts, VAT, wages, accruals, prepayments, inter-company balances, fixed assets etc. I also prepare cashflow forecasts and analyse key performance indicators (KPIs) for the group so that areas of the business can be identified which may require more focus or be open to opportunities. With the recent acquisition of Pestguard Services (Scotland) Ltd, I have helped with the integration of accounting software and introducing quicker, more accurate reporting techniques.
Q: What would you say it’s like working for Contego and what do you like about the way things are done here?
When I moved from practice into industry, a key attraction was to be able to look to the future rather than always living in the past. Contego hasn’t let me down in this regard. They are always looking to the future, wanting to improve, be more efficient and grow. They have a strong focus on processes and refinement. I enjoy that you’re given the opportunity to add value. It’s not about doing the same thing day in/day out. If there’s new software on the market, research it and recommend changes. Are there other opportunities for acquisitions which suit our business model? Can certain processes be done quicker? Do we really need to be spending money on this and that? Being in a large national company such as Contego, you need strong teams, and I can’t speak highly enough of the finance team at Contego. They’ve helped me settle in quickly, are competent, driven, and reliable and that’s all you can ask for from your team members.